This paper proposes a reading of liminal transitions in semiotic terms, namely as a byproduct of the dynamics of sensemaking consisting of how two components of meaning interact: the observable side of meaning (Significance in Praesentia) – the rupture directly experienced by the interpreter – and a further generalized meaning – the semiotic scenario (Significance in Absentia) which makes the lived experience interpretable. Due to its pre-semantic and affective nature, in the liminal hotspot the semiotic scenario keeps a certain version of the self alive, regardless of the changes occurring in the real world. The conditions that favor such dynamics are briefly outlined as well as some implications for theory, methodology and intervention.
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